Link to the University of Pittsburgh Homepage
Link to the University Library System Homepage Link to the Contact Us Form

EXPLAINING EVOLUTIONARY INNOVATION AND NOVELTY: A HISTORICAL AND PHILOSOPHICAL STUDY OF BIOLOGICAL CONCEPTS

Love, Alan Christopher (2006) EXPLAINING EVOLUTIONARY INNOVATION AND NOVELTY: A HISTORICAL AND PHILOSOPHICAL STUDY OF BIOLOGICAL CONCEPTS. Doctoral Dissertation, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

[img]
Preview
PDF
Primary Text

Download (4MB) | Preview

Abstract

Explaining evolutionary novelties (such as feathers or neural crest cells) is a central item on the research agenda of evolutionary developmental biology (Evo-devo). Proponents of Evo-devo have claimed that the origin of innovation and novelty constitutes a distinct research problem, ignored by evolutionary theory during the latter half of the 20th century, and that Evo-devo as a synthesis of biological disciplines is in a unique position to address this problem. In order to answer historical and philosophical questions attending these claims, two philosophical tools were developed. The first, conceptual clusters, captures the joint deployment of concepts in the offering of scientific explanations and allows for a novel definition of conceptual change. The second, problem agendas, captures the multifaceted nature of explanatory domains in biological science and their diachronic stability. The value of problem agendas as an analytical unit is illustrated through the examples of avian feather and flight origination. Historical research shows that explanations of innovation and novelty were not ignored. They were situated in disciplines such as comparative embryology, morphology, and paleontology (exemplified in the research of N.J. Berrill, D.D. Davis, and W.K. Gregory), which were overlooked because of a historiography emphasizing the relations between genetics and experimental embryology. This identified the origin of Evo-devo tools (developmental genetics) but missed the source of its problem agenda. The structure of developmental genetic explanations of innovations and novelties is compared and contrasted with those of other disciplinary approaches, past and present. Applying the tool of conceptual clusters to these explanations reveals a unique form of conceptual change over the past five decades: a change in the causal and evidential concepts appealed to in explanations. Specification of the criteria of explanatory adequacy for the problem agenda of innovation and novelty indicates that Evo-devo qua disciplinary synthesis requires more attention to the construction of integrated explanations from its constituent disciplines besides developmental genetics. A model for explanations integrating multiple disciplinary contributions is provided. The phylogenetic approach to philosophy of science utilized in this study is relevant to philosophical studies of other sciences and meets numerous criteria of adequacy for analyses of conceptual change.


Share

Citation/Export:
Social Networking:
Share |

Details

Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
Creators/Authors:
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Love, Alan Christopherpkcarter@gmail.com
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Committee ChairLennox, James G.jglennox@pitt.eduJGLENNOX
Committee MemberWagner, Günter P.gunter.wagner@yale.edu
Committee MemberOlby, Robert C.olbyr@comcast.net
Committee MemberRaff, Rudolf A.rraff@bio.indiana.edu
Committee MemberMitchell, Sandra D.smitchel@pitt.eduSMITCHEL
Date: 5 July 2006
Date Type: Completion
Defense Date: 22 June 2007
Approval Date: 5 July 2006
Submission Date: 23 May 2005
Access Restriction: No restriction; Release the ETD for access worldwide immediately.
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences > History and Philosophy of Science
Degree: PhD - Doctor of Philosophy
Thesis Type: Doctoral Dissertation
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: epistemology; history of biology; philosophy of biology
Other ID: http://etd.library.pitt.edu/ETD/available/etd-05232005-142007/, etd-05232005-142007
Date Deposited: 10 Nov 2011 19:45
Last Modified: 15 Nov 2016 13:43
URI: http://d-scholarship.pitt.edu/id/eprint/7936

Metrics

Monthly Views for the past 3 years

Plum Analytics


Actions (login required)

View Item View Item